Week 13                                                    Geauga County, Ohio                                                  Aug. 30, 2016

The Fair Share     

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"Let things taste  the way they are."
~ Alice Waters, chef, author
and owner of Chez Panisse

Team effort
Welcome to Week 13 of the Geauga Family Farms summer season. Many people have asked us about the process we take to put the shares together each week. To best address these questions, we are happy to describe the steps your vegetables take from our farms to your home. 

On Fridays our warehouse team contacts each of our farms to find out what types and volumes of produce will be available the following week. Rebecca, who manages the ordering process, determines the mix of items that will go in the small, medium and large shares for those four days.  She then places an order  with  each farm for the  items to fill  the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday  shares It has helped us refine our  growing,  picking, cleaning and packing techniques over the years.  With nearly 900 members, this means between 200 and 250 boxes go out on each of our delivery days. Rebecca also organizes the extra orders, contacting our partners who provide cheese, eggs and baked goods so they have enough time to get the orders ready for the following week.

The day before our deliveries (Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays), our farmers are busy harvesting the items they will contribute to the shares that day. Each farm grows a different mix of vegetables, herbs and fruit based on what grows well in their soil and what interests them. Fruits and vegetables are hand-picked and brought to the barns for preparation. Spouses, sons, daughters and neighbors pitch in to get the items ready for delivery to the warehouse. This includes sorting, cleaning, packaging and placing into boxes for the arrival of the delivery truck. 

Our trucks get an early start on our delivery days, picking up the produce orders from each of the farms, as well as eggs, bread, cheeses, etc. that have been ordered as extras. When the truck gets to the warehouse, the produce is unloaded, inspected and organized. Our warehouse team then packs each share by hand to ensure that the items will travel well and arrive in good shape. The inspection and packing process at the warehouse usually takes about two hours. The shares are then loaded back into the trucks for delivery to your pick-up site.

Once deliveries are complete the whole process starts again for the next day. 

Are we perfect? No. As much as we try, sometimes something gets missed, or something gets handled in a way that limits its shelf life. That's why we truly appreciate your feedback. It has helped us refine our picking, cleaning and packing techniques over the years. If you haven't had a chance to answer any or all of our questions from last week, please find a few moments to let us know about your experience. Here are the questions again, for your consideration:
  • What would make it easier for you to participate and more likely to convince your friends, families and coworkers to participate?
  • What items would you like to see incorporated into the program that we do not currently provide?
  • Would you like more control over when and where you receive shares?
  • Are there areas where an additional pick-up site is needed?
  • Would you like additional payment options?
  • What do you value the most about this program?
  • What should not change?
There is always room for improvement, and we appreciate your willingness to let us make adjustments along the way.

When you think about the fact that most of the produce in stores travels more than 1,500 miles and sits around in warehouses to ripen, it's comforting to know that the items in your share are fresh, hand-picked and carefully nurtured for the farm-to-table journey by families who love farming and who look forward to bringing you the best of what our land has to offer. 

Thank you for being part of our team!

Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
~ with Laura Dobson, Rachel Machesky and the farmers of Geauga Family Farms
In this week's shares
Look for some of these items in your share this week.

Lettuce (red leaf, green leaf, Romaine), celery, red potatoes, tomatoes (regular, heirloom, Roma, cherry), onions (sweet, storage), shallots, garlic, bell peppers (green, colored), snack peppers (orange, red), banana peppers (hot, sweet), eggplant, zucchini, green beans, blackberries, watermelon, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, jalapeños and cucumbers (regular, pickling).

NOTE: Y ou will not receive all of the types of produce listed above. This is a list of possible items. Different size shares and shares received at different times of the week may include different items.

*It's  pepper season! Hot peppers will be marked with a HOT sticker, but please exercise caution when tasting any peppers. Wash hands thoroughly after handling hot peppers and do not touch your eyes.
In our farm store

Red & yellow storage onions - $2/pound
Sweet onions$2.25
Shallots - $3/half-pound

Canning tomatoes - $13/half bushel
Cherry tomatoes - $3.50/pint
Heirloom tomatoes - $5/quart
Roma tomatoes - $3.50/quart, $15/half bushel
Slicing tomatoes - $4.50/quart, $24/10-pound box

Fingerling potatoes - $5/quart

Jalapeño peppers - $2/pint
Yummy orange peppers$2.50/pint

Other vegetables:
Beets - $3/bunch
We have a bumper crop of butternut squash, and it is now available in the farm store. It's not just for yummy fall soups. Try our recipe for a delicious winter squash salad. Michelle even eats this for breakfast!

Butternut squash - $2/each small; $3.50/each large
Farm tour announcement - save the date!
Our next farm tour of the season will take place from 2 - 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at the farm of Lester and Martha Hershberger. We will have a range of fun activities and treats, with more details to come in the next few weeks. Make plans now for a fun autumn Saturday with Geauga Family Farms. You won't want to miss it!   
Farmers to visit pick-up sites
Our growers will be riding along with our delivery trucks over the next few weeks. Please take an opportunity to say hello and ask any questions you may have about our farms and our program. They are looking forward to meeting you! For those of you picking up today, you will have the pleasure of meeting GFF farmer Noah Yutzy.
Make-up shares
If you put your share on hold for a vacation this summer, please make sure you schedule your make-up share before it gets too late. Contact one of our farm representatives with your preferred date.  Please remember that we need at least seven days' notice.
We include recipes each week using the items in your share. While our in-house chefs Rachel and Michelle always have great recipes to share, we'd love for you to send us your favorite recipes as well. We will include them in the next newsletter. Please e-mail them to LDobson@geaugafamilyfarms.org.

Michelle's CSA Vegetable Soup
"I made this fresh and hearty soup for dinner, pulling the majority of ingredients straight out of the CSA box. Feel free to adjust ingredients to suit your tastes." Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris
3 Tbsps. olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small green pepper, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and chopped
½ head of bok choy, (you can also use Swiss chard or kale instead) dice stems and finely chop leaves
3 Roma tomatoes, diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 32-ounce container of low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 Tbsps. chopped fresh basil or 1 cube of frozen chopped basil
¾ cup whole wheat macaroni or small shells
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, as a garnish

In a large pot, sauté onion, garlic, pepper, carrots, celery and zucchini over medium high heat until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add bok choy and tomatoes and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes. Stir in broth and garbanzo beans, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add pasta and basil and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Cook's note: We had some small, frozen wedding soup-style meatballs that made a nice addition to the soup. Pieces of grilled chicken or Italian sausage would also be great.

Butternut Squash Salad
"This is based on a delicious recipe prepared by my friend, Liz Young. It's great as a side dish and very filling as a breakfast!" ~Michelle
For the salad
2 cups cubed squash (roasted or steamed)
2 apples, cut into ½ inch pieces
2 cups cooked quinoa
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup cranberries
½ cup nuts (almonds or walnuts are great)
½ cup chopped dried apricots

For the dressing (adjust these amounts to taste)
¼ cup olive oil (or nut oil)
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsps. honey
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Combine quinoa and remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over salad and stir to combine.

Swiss Chard Gratin
Serves 4
1 pound Swiss chard, washed and cut into 2-3 inch pieces
1 cup grated Gruyere
1 ½ Tbsps. butter
2 Tbsps. flour
1 ½ cups milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsps. panko
½ tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Boil the Swiss chard uncovered for 3-4 minutes (or until tender), pushing it down in the water to cover all pieces.  Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Transfer the chard to a 6-cup gratin dish. Mix in ¾ cup of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix well with a whisk, and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the milk, bring to a boil, mixing with the whisk until the mixture thickens and boils. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the heavy cream and mix to incorporate. Remove from the heat.
Combine the breadcrumbs with the remaining ¼ cup cheese and paprika in a small bowl.
Pour the white sauce over the Swiss chard and mix well. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes, until well-browned and crusty on top.  Serve and enjoy!
Recipe by Rachel Machesky
Area events

FARMAFARE: a celebration of local foods
Sept. 15, 6 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner & presentation
The Holden Arboretum, 9500 Sperry Road, Kirtland
The Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District has given local food, farmers and chefs the spotlight at its annual meeting since 2012. This year, FARMAFARE will feature a farm-to-table dinner prepared by local chefs with locally produced beverages. All proceeds support the Lake SWCD. To order tickets or for more information, visit the FARMAFARE listing on Eventbrite, call 440-350-2730, or email soil@lakecountyohio.gov.
Local food, farming, environment in the news
We have so many things we'd like to share with you regarding the local food movement and things like the farm bill, the latest news on GMO foods, and much, much more, but we don't want to make our newsletter any longer. Until we get our blog up and running on our website, we are going to include links to articles that you may find interesting. Here are a couple. If you run across any articles you think would be of interest to our members, feel free to send us the link for inclusion here.
(Between the regular business hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday ONLY PLEASE!)
Farm Representatives

Laura Dobson, 440-478-9849, LDobson@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Rachel Machesky216-246-8254, RMachesky@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org
Michelle Bandy-Zalatoris , 216-321-7109, MichelleBZ@GeaugaFamilyFarms.org

Geauga Family Farms, Middlefield, Ohio 44062